by Linda Straker
- Leader of the Opposition in Grenada’s post vacant for 7 years before Clement was appointed
- Bernardine said that Clement has a duty to perform, with a perspective that is unique
- In a democratic system one should always have opposition
Franka Bernardine, Political Leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), has described the appointment of Tobias Clement as Leader of the Opposition in Grenada’s Lower House of Parliament as a boost to democracy.
“It’s a great boost for democracy because in a democratic system one should always have opposition and I want to make it quite clear to our supporters that is this is a parliamentary position,” Bernardine said in her opening remarks during a virtual news conference held by the party on Wednesday.
“I take this opportunity to wish him well and every success as he embarks on this leg of the journey. We hope that he will do well,” she said while explaining to supporters that the Leader of the Opposition position is not a position created by the Prime Minister. “This is very much a parliamentary process, there is nothing unusual…this is part of the normal procedure.”
“It is right there in the constitution. Mr Clement has crossed the floor, he has left his own party and therefore automatically becomes the opposition member. As there are no other opposition persons sitting in the opposition section of the House, he becomes the leader of the opposition,” she said.
Explaining that the move by Clement does not in any way affect the National Democratic Congress as a party, she said data from the 2018 General Election in which the party did not win any seat, shows that the party enjoyed almost 41% of support from the ballots cast.
Urging NDC supporters to warmly welcome Clement who is presently the Member of Parliament for the St George’s North East Constituency, Bernardine said that he has a duty to perform. “He has a perspective that is unique because he has been in the heart of his party before, and has now come out and is in a unique position to play a very important role,” she said.
Clement who was serving as a government backbencher, resigned as a member of the ruling New National Party (NNP) in December 2019. At the time of his resignation, he announced that he will remain in parliament and will not be resigning so that there will be a by-election.
As of 14 April 2020, Clement received his instruments of appointment from the Governor-General to become the leader of the opposition in the House of Representatives. The post was vacant for 7 years before Clement was appointed.
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